Masonry trowels are one of the most important tools in any bricklayer’s arsenal.
Bricklayers use them to apply mortar on bricks, and they also use them to apply a finishing coat of mortar on finished surfaces.
Masonry trowels come in many shapes and sizes, but not all are created equal.
In this article, we will discuss the best masonry trowel for bricklaying, as well as what features you should be looking for when shopping for a new one!
Our 6 Best Masonry Trowel Picks:
Here are the best trowels that you can use for masonry projects-
1. 19 11FG 11″ Philadelphia Brick Trowel with DuraSoft Handle
The Marshalltown brick trowel model 19 11FG is made in the USA. It’s one of the best trowels for bricklayers available in the market.
With its blade size of 11″ x 5 ½” and its Philadelphia pattern, it is perfect for laying blocks as it allows more mortar to be placed on the blade.
It is beneficial for performing masonry jobs such as decorative brick, block, and stonework. Plus, its hand rise offers accurate hang and balance.
Marshalltown forged this brick trowel from one piece of industrial-grade carbon steel for sturdiness and durability. They went further to polish it to ensure it delivers only a clean finish to any job.
It has a strong impact area to withstand the hustle and bustle of day to day masonry usage. Thanks to the Durasoft handle, it is comfortable to use all day long. However, its weight of 0.47 Kg may be a little heavy for some people.
You can hit the Marshalltown brick trowel model 19 11FG on blocks, and you wouldn’t have to bother about it breaking because the steel construction runs up to the handle.
- Made in the USA
- Industrial-grade carbon steel construction
- Accurate hang and balance
- Philadelphia pattern
- A little heavy
2. Kraft Tool RO316-12 W Rose Narrow London Brick Trowel with Leather Handle
The Kraft Tool RO316-12 W brick trowel is another made in the USA trowel. It features a 12″ narrow London diamond-heeled blade that takes mortar a little further forward from the handle and spreads it quickly.
This makes it ideal for projects like veneering and general masonry & brick projects. The blade is made from a single piece of unique carbon steel to possess high endurance and strength.
Plus, it undergoes heat tempering with a unique, time-tested process to have uniform hardness.
Flexibility is another feature of this brick trowel as it doesn’t weaken or crack. With the Kraft Tool RO316-12 W brick trowel, you won’t have to worry about mortals sliding down because its polished surface keeps mortals centered always.
This brick trowel is handy for professional cement finishers, asphalt paver, brick mason, tile setter, plasterer, or drywall craftsman, to mention a few.
Its 5″ heel leather handle is intentionally designed to reduce wrist fatigue, allowing you to work for a prolonged time. However, the handle doesn’t last long.
- Made in the USA
- Leather handle reduces wrist fatigue
- 12″ narrow London diamond-heeled blade
- It keeps the mortal always centered without sliding
- It reduces wrist fatigue
- The handle doesn’t last long
3. Spear & Jackson 10811SF-08 Tyzack Philadelphia Brick Trowel
The Spear & Jackson 10811sf-08 tyzac Philadelphia brick trowel is not as heavy-duty as the two trowels reviewed above. It is for DIYers and hobbyists who desire to make one or two amendments in their home, office, or basement. If you are a full-time bricklayer, you should consider another trowel.
That said, this trowel is made from sturdy carbon steel with a solid forged 11″ blade. The blade has the Philadelphia pattern and has been hardened, spring tempered to balance between flexibility and rigidity. That makes it perfect for laying blocks.
Thanks to its lightweight and the soft feel handle with a vital finger guard, wrist fatigue is minimum. Its protecting clear lacquer coating provides durability and prevents it from rusting. Also, it has a plastic end cap for easy tapping down.
- Philadelphia pattern
- Sturdy carbon steel construction
- Minimal wrist fatigue
- Soft feel handle with a vital finger guard
- Not heavy-duty
- It doesn’t last long
4. OX Tools 11″ Philadelphia Trowel
The OX Tools 11″ Philadelphia trowel is stable and durable for different bricklaying needs. It is built from heavy-duty steel that doesn’t rust nor crack.
Whether you are a professional cement finisher, asphalt paver, brick mason, tile setter, plasterer, or drywall craftsman, this trowel got you covered. It features a precision-tapered, ground blade that provides balance and control on the job.
This trowel is very lightweight, weighing only 1.1lb. It has a Duragrip handle for a comfortable working experience and reduced wrist fatigue.
Additionally, it has finger protection for extra comfort. The rigid end of the handle can be used to tap blocks, and it won’t break or crack.
When you buy the OX Tools 11″ Philadelphia trowel, there’s a 90-day money-back guarantee if it gets defective within that period.
- Solid built
- Finger protection
- Duragrip handle
- Philadelphia pattern
- 90-day money-back guarantee
5. Kraft Tool GG242 Squeegee Trowel
The Kraft tool makes another appearance with its GG242 Squeegee trowel. This trowel is different from every other one reviewed above in terms of design.
It was manufactured to make smooth coatings in decorative concrete, drywall, concrete restoration, and general construction. Its 12″ flexible blade is well balanced and easy to control. Kraft tool installed a blade protector to ensure the blade lasts for a long time.
Thanks to the ProForm soft-grip handle, you can use it for an extended period and won’t feel any pain in your wrist. Moreover, you can attach a threaded broom to the handle to reach high places like ceilings or tall walls. There’s also a hang hole for easy storage. It is a perfect tool for DIYers and hobbyists who want to take on coating projects.
Another aspect of this trowel that’s exciting is the low price that makes it very affordable. It is strong and, at the same time, ultra-light, which makes it not suitable for heavy-duty usage.
- It has a blade protector for durability
- Cheap and offers excellent value for money
- It doesn’t cause pain to the wrist
- Soft handle with a threaded hole for attachment of broom to reach high places
- Hang hole for easy storage
- It may not last long if used for heavy-duty jobs
6. Midwest Rake 47415 12″ Magic Trowel Smoother
Last on the list is the Midwest Rake 47415 12″ magic trowel/smoother. It is used mainly to apply cementitious overlays smoothly on surfaces.
It has a size of 11″ x 11″ x 5″ that can hold a reasonable amount of coatings at a time for fast work. Thanks to its ergonomic handle and lightweight (8.99 ounces), it is very comfortable to use.
Furthermore, the handle has a threaded adapter hole (3/4″) that connects to long sticks and pipes to extend its height. The Midwest Rake 47415 12″ magic trowel/smoother is made in the USA. So you can bank on its quality. Plus, it is cheap too.
- Works well
- Made in the USA
- Ergonomic handle
How to Choose The Best Masonry Trowel
After going through the top trowel reviews, you may have been thinking about the process we have picked these products. So, here are the determining factors to consider while choosing an authentic masonry trowel for the job.
Ease of Use & Comfort
When considering the operation model, the handle is half of the trowel, and it is a necessary component. The use of the trowel is directed with the handle, and that gets the job done. As stated earlier, the handle can be made from different materials.
The main features of a handle are grip efficiency and durability. Before discussing materials, the size of the handle matters. Firstly, you definitely want a handle that is not too big or too small. Having the appropriate size will let the handle sink and grip well within your palm. That way, you won’t have to put in extra effort when utilizing the trowel.
Speaking of materials, the soft grip is the most wanted, and materials include plastic, leather, and wood. Each material is unique in property, and they offer different features.
=> Soft grip materials are the most enjoyable for work, but they wear out easily. The soft grip can almost create an illusion of you wearing gloves.
=> Wooden handles are more of the traditional style. It is definitely not the most comfortable form of the handle, but it lasts well if the wood is a resilient type. Exposure to moisture is bad for wooden handles.
=> Leather handles are very pleasing to the eyes but judging from experience, they don’t last too long. The vintage vibe is very fashionable, though, but longevity is the challenge.
=> Plastic handles are not what you see every time. This is definitely another good option when considering the handle’s durability, but it comes with its own downsides. Plastic handles for trowels are a bit tacky, and they seem to get slippery whenever the handle is wet.
Perfect Weight Balance
This is a factor of personal preference and suitability of trowel for the job at hand. The balance we are talking about is the resultant center of trowel weight.
Does the weight lean more towards the shaft, or does it lean more towards the handle? The question is essential, especially when the user is an experienced craftsman.
A masonry trowel with weight tilting toward the shaft is usually lighter, and that is most preferred by bricklayers because it is easy to carry. Trowels with heavier handles have their weights balance in the middle or even tilted towards the handle; they are generally heavier but more suitable for specific strokes.
Typically, I prefer the total weight of the trowel to be around half-a-kilogram. Less than that may feel too light and more than the optimal range will give you fatigue.
Durability of Trowel
This is a common factor to consider when choosing any tool or instrument. It is a cliché but a significant one. Durability heavily depends on materials and the manufacturing process.
The process is majorly composed of forging operations, and the primary material is steel.
Durability comes with trust in manufacturers or distributors, but that doesn’t mean the big names are automatically a go-to. You can get a decent trowel for a fair price without patronizing a big brand or even spending much.
The best thing is to check for recommendations, reviews and comments like this article, if you are a beginner in the craft.
You can also research details of quality to know what to go for if you don’t have much experience with trowels.
A traditional way of testing a masonry trowel is to hit it against a hard substance and see how long it rings. Long-lasting sound typically suggests that the trowel was made with quality steel.
Judging from experience, well-composed alloy steel is usually a good material for making trowel. Stainless steel is also a good material for the shaft and blades in general.
The handle can be made from a variety of materials, ranging from wood to plastic. Blade wears over time, and handles get loose; the durability is for that time to be far away, not that it won’t spoil forever.
Overall Size of The Trowel
This goes a long way since there are standard measures, but the user should really decide the size. With some field experience and work exposure, a user will definitely know what size goes for what.
The length of a masonry trowel is usually between 9 to 14 inches, and width of around 4 to 7 inches. Trowels with 11 inches of length can be time-saving during bricklaying jobs. Bigger trowels are more efficient in some cases, like when you are working with cement cinder blocks.
Despite all the possible efficiency boost highlighted above, small trowels actually do neat jobs. To keep the job tidy as an amateur, you may need to use smaller masonry trowels more often.
Also, it is advisable to buy a bigger trowel when your budget is limited. A bigger trowel is more versatile and can be manipulated to do different tasks. A small trowel can really limit you and even result in more time and stress. If the budget is not an issue for you, get different sizes of quality masonry trowels.
Masonry trowels help to deliver a professional result on any masonry job. Our list comprises different patterns and styles of trowels that suit various jobs and applications.
The Philadelphia pattern trowels are better suited for laying blocks; the London pattern trowels are designed to lay bricks, and the smoother trowels are for wall skimming and coating.
In conclusion, we have reviewed each of the trowels on our list thoroughly. If you choose from this list, rest assured that you’ll be buying one of the best trowels available in today’s market. We hope you find the best brick trowel for your project needs.